Burns, John (1858-1943)

Scope and Content

Notes, correspondence, press-cuttings and ephemera found in the Burns library. Correspondents include Charles Booth (1903). Press-cuttings cover subjects such as unemployment, local government, religion, and trades unions. Also includes a scrapbook of William Cobbett letters (1831-1832) and minutes of Liverpool branch of Association of All Classes of All Nations (1837-1839).

Administrative / Biographical History

John Burns was born in Lambeth in 1858; trained as an engineer and became active in the labour movement and local politics; leader of the London dock strike of 1889; elected to London County Council on its inception in 1889, remaining in office until 1907; also served as MP for Battersea (1892-1918) and was president of the Local Government Board (1905-1913) and the Board of Trade (1914); resigned from the Cabinet in protest at the British decision to declare war in August 1914; died 1943.


Divided into correspondence, notes, press-cuttings, archives collected by Burns, and subject files.

Access Information

Open for research.

Acquisition Information

Senate House Library

Other Finding Aids

Fully catalogued on the ULRLS on-line catalogue, http://archives.ulrls.lon.ac.uk

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Richard Temple.

Separated Material

Papers include: British Library Manuscript Collections: correspondence and papers including diaries (64 vols, 1874-1942, Add MSS 46281-46345, 59669), Labour History Archive and Study Centre: correspondence and miscellaneous papers; Oxford University: Bodleian Library: Special Collections and Western Manuscripts: correspondence with Herbert Asquith; London Metropolitan Archives: correspondence with the Central Unemployed Body for London, 1920-1922, diaries, lectures and reports (ACC/2337), records including Trade Union papers and correspondence, 1888-1939, additional correspondence including records relating to administration of the Burns' estate, 1860-1951; London School of Economics Library, Archives Division: correspondence with the Fabian Society, 1893-1907, letters to AG Gardiner, 1906-1925, correspondence with ED Morel, c1903-1921; Parliamentary Archives: letters to Herbert Samuel, 1893-1895 and 1902, correspondence with John St Loe Strachey, 1898-1914; National Library of Scotland: miscellaneous correspondence, 1899-1930; California State University, Northridge: 100 letters (DA/530/A3/C6).

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Custodial History

Transferred from Senate House Library. The Burns Library was transferred to Senate House Library from the Trades Union Congress Library.